At the midway point of the season, the Redskins are 4-4 and have as many wins as they had all of last season. Coach Mike Shanahan has improved the discipline and attitude of the players, and the Redskins are 2-0 in the NFC East. But before calling this season a success so far, remember that last year’s team lost several close games, and when coach Jim Zorn was stripped of play calling duties, it signified Washington essentially throwing in the towel. Otherwise the 2009 Redskins might have easily won seven or eight games.
With that in mind, here are the Redskins’ mid-term grades. There aren’t any A’s but no units have failed either.
Quarterback: B-. At first glance, Donovan McNabb isn’t having a great season. His passer rating of 76.0 is the worst of his career and his accuracy has been up and down. The six-time Pro Bowl quarterback has more interceptions (eight) than touchdowns (seven). However, McNabb is playing behind a porous offensive line with inconsistent, inexperienced running backs and a receiving corps that is one of the worst in the NFL. Still, McNabb’s leadership has helped Washington to as many wins as it had all of last season, and he has already become the Redskins’ best deep passer since Mark Rypien played nearly 20 years ago. There may also be something to what coach Mike Shanahan says about McNabb being banged up and having hamstring problems, because power and accuracy on throws stem from the legs.
McNabb has also had to learn a new offense as well that is very different than the short passing game he ran in Philadelphia. Despite media reports that McNabb will move on via free agency at the end of the year because of his recent benching by Shanahan, there’s no reason he can’t stay and in fact it would be hard to find a better option in free agency or coming out of college.
Here are a few other excerpts from my article on Examiner.com:
Wide Receivers: D. Santana Moss is a solid pro and is having his usual strong season but is best suited to being a number two or slot receiver. Moss’ 48 receptions are 19 more than the rest of the team’s receivers combined. Other than Moss, this may be the thinnest receiving corps in the league.
Cornerbacks: B-. Carlos Rogers is a solid cover corner but couldn’t catch a cold if he spent the season teaching kindergarten.
Coaching: B-. Shanahan is a good football coach who wins games. Unfortunately, his alter ego, “Shenanigan,” plays games that hurt the team.
For the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.